Salem offers a formal College Honors Program of courses and independent study which gives exceptionally talented students opportunities to do honors level work in a variety of fields. Honors work involves advanced reading, extensive writing, seminar discussions, oral presentations and the completion of a major paper. Students in the arts may undertake honors work which culminates in an exhibition or performance. Science and humanities students may conduct original research projects which lead to the preparation of a research paper. Completion of the College Honors Program results in graduation with college honors.

Entering first-year students who rank in the top 10 percent (based on combined SAT scores) of their entering class and whose high school cumulative G.P.A. is 3.5 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale) are eligible for admission to the College honors program, as are current Salem College students who have a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average.

There are three components in the College Honors Program: honors courses in the academic disciplines, interdisciplinary seminars and honors independent study courses. In order to graduate with college honors, the student must complete six honors courses, maintain a 3.5 or greater cumulative grade point average and be recommended by the honors program committee. The six honors courses must include one interdisciplinary honors seminar (Honors 210), one disciplinary honors seminar (Honors 220) and two honors independent study courses in the major. A student may fulfill the remaining two course requirements by taking additional honors courses (including English 103) or by doing honors options in regular courses. No more than two honors independent study courses may be used towards the six honors courses required for College Honors.

Aside from the honors independent study courses, which are offered by the various departments, honors course offerings are coordinated by the honors program committee. Each semester one or two courses are offered. One of the fall semester offerings is Freshman Honors English (English 103), and one of the yearly offerings is an interdisciplinary honors seminar. In scheduling honors courses, the honors program committee attempts to ensure that, over time, a variety of student interests will be served.

Students who maintain a 3.5 cumulative grade point average may elect to enroll in honors courses without completing all the components of the College honors program. Students with at least a 3.5 average in the subject area are eligible to enroll in a disciplinary course in that subject. Only students who complete the entire program will be eligible for graduation with College honors.

To be graduated with departmental honors (honors in a major), a student must complete two honors independent study courses in that major, be recommended by her major department and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above in the discipline.